Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) has decided to challenge frontrunner Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) to chair the House Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress, a Forbes spokesman said Wednesday.
Forbes faces an uphill battle for the powerful post as Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the outgoing chairman, has indicated he favors Thornberry, reported the Hill. Thornberry has served as the panel’s vice chairman since McKeon assumed the top spot four years ago. Forbes chairs the panel’s Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee; he previously was chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, which is responsible for overseeing installations and BRAC policy.
Thornberry leads Forbes in party outreach and recently has begun to raise his national security profile.
Last month, Forbes told the Hill he was considering a run for the chairmanship because he was concerned his party no longer was leading the way on national security issues.
“When we talk about national defense and where we are you have too many people just kind of nodding, that you know, this is just where we are,” Forbes said. “We have to make a fundamental decision in our party, whether we will just be the manager of a decline toward mediocrity or whether we will have the leaders chart a new course,” he said.